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Thomas Day Furniture

daychairThe Danville Museum has on display several pieces by Thomas Day on loan from the Thomas Day House Museum, Mrs. Phillip M. Hooper and Mrs. James S. Love. Born in Halifax County, Virginia about 1801, Thomas Day was a free black cabinetmaker. Around 1823, he moved to Caswell County, North Carolina. In 1827, he opened a workshop in Milton, eventually becoming one of the state's largest furniture producers.

As his business prospered, Day became a slave owner and apprenticed white men to train as furniture makers. Census information from the period indicates that Thomas Day employed twelve workers and that his worth was one-fourth of the entire state's carpentry and building establishment.

Thomas Day's customers throughout North Carolina and Virginia often ordered furniture for their homes from the design books he utilized. His employees would make the furniture and take it in pieces by wagon to set up in the space for which it was designed.

In addition to homes, Thomas Day did the interior woodwork and made furnishings for churches and public buildings. In the 1850s, he was commissioned to make several pieces of furniture for Governor David S. Reid. Day's work can also be seen in the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh and in several homes in Danville and Caswell County.